Sunday, April 19, 2009


One lovely 8 oz skein of merino in DK weight merino.

Oh so yumy!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back Yard

Some people have flowers in their yards.


Some of us still have snow.

Although there is a show of a promise.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Who knew?

Yesterday some jerk put gum on Mira's seat in the library when she got up for a few minutes. They were her favorite pair of pants and she managed to pick most of it off, but not all. A google search later I had many different suggestions from the ice cube trick (would probably work better if the gum hadn't been ground in and sat on for the rest of the day) to soaking it in gasoline (like I was going to try THAT one!)
One of the easiest methods was to let it soak in fabric softener for 15 minutes and then scrape it off. After weighing the pros and cons of gas vs. fabric softener, I chose the Fleecy.
Now I will admit that I let it soak closer to 45 minutes ( I was weaving and sort of lost track of time) but with a little application of a finger nail and about 5 minutes worth of picking, the gum is gone! The pants are in the washing machine and I hope when they come out of the dryer, it will be like it never happened.
Some kids will still be jerks and I hope they get what is coming to them.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bathroom Hazard

Bill never has to worry about encountering pantyhose in the bathroom, but he often has to deal with either warps or woven scarves. He never complains about the hazards that he finds in the bathroom whether they be warps, scarves, or skeins.
These four scarves are out of the same merino that I talked about a few days ago. They are three strands of the really fine merino that were warped as one. These will be about 8 inches wide and in pinks, oranges, and red. A little more girly than the blue ones will be.
They are in the cue (or at least will be when they dry).
The cue seems to be getting longer and longer. I really want to have a lot of stock for the Christmas season. But there is something else that is new this year. More on that later!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fibre Hazard

If I am spinning roving, it usually gets split and dropped into a gift bag that sits of the floor near my spinning wheel. If I am spinning blended fibers that are in batt form, they usually get split a few chunks at a time and chucked on the small table that my computer sits on which is next to where I use my wheel.
Behind my table is a plant stand.
We have many many plants and the usually get hauled outside every second summer or so for a re-potting and a trim if necessary. Sticky, a philodendron, seems to be growing out of control. He is definitely in need of a trim having reached down about four feet to hang just above where I toss my split fleece. I had a good laugh the other day when I realized that Sticky had become a "Fiber Hazard" and had captured some silk and merino that I had blended and had been spinning.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On the loom

I have a series of mixed warp scarves that are slated for the dye pot. These scarves are a mixture of cellulose and protein fibers so that when I put them in an acid dye vat, the silks and wools will dye while the cotton and rayon will remain white or cream. I tried this with one of the mixed warp scarves that I wove last year and was quite pleased with the results. These scarves are one of the instances that I will warp front to back. In these the fibers are silk, silk noil, cotton, mercerised cotton, rayon, silk noil boucle, wool boucle, and a mystery shiny nubby yarn that doesn't dye in the acid dyes.
I have four woven, four on the loom, and four more in the queue. I am trying to get as many warps wound on the lovely large warping mill at the school before classes end. I also would like to get some dyed before I have to switch to my still functional but much more primitive dyeing "kitchen" in the back yard that consists of a 4'x8' plywood table and a hot plate powered with an extension cord.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Call for squares

Please pop over to Warming Grace. When you get there, you will understand why.

In the Queue

I was fortunate enough to get a bunch of really fine merino wool (2/24 and 2/32) for a song. But the thought of weaving something so fine for production leaves me in a cold sweat. Even paying myself a modest $10 per hour, the cost would soon be out of the range of what most people around here are willing to pay if I wove it at its correct sett.
So last summer, I made up and dyed a warp as an experiment. I took three strands of different colours and used it as one warp element. I changed a colour every now and then to get a gradation across the warp. At least that was the plan. Then I quickly slapped some dye on it and steamed it and...... yuck. The colours that I had chosen did not really work very well with the original colours of the yarn. Except for one scarf on one end that was browns.
So I did what I always do when something hideous comes out of the dye pot... I threw it back in. This time it was into a blue vat. The brown end scarf hung over the edge well out of the dye. Unfortunately, this resulted in a slightly felted warp and when I tried to put it on during the Christmas production rush, I decided that I did not have the time nor the patience to deal with such a felted mess at that time. Lease sticks in, I rolled it up and chucked it back into a basket to be dusted off when things were a little calmer. Things were calmer in February, so I set to wind it on my loom front to back.
Most of the warps that I put on are done back to front but I had the opportunity to learn the front to back method about 8 or 9 years ago. Knowledge is rarely a bad thing so I tried the method and decided that for the most part, I liked back to front better. But I did see some applications for the front to back method.
The first is when I am combining two or more warps. From time to time, I will dye two wraps separately and then combine them in stripes.
The second is when I have made a mixed warp by holding a number of different types of yarns as one unit when warping and then separate them when threading. Winding the bunches on the back as one unit and then threading them leaves me with no end of tension issues. Especially as I use many different types of yarn with different amounts of stretch and different amounts of resiliency.
The third is when I have a sticky warp that is mildly felted. It seems to be much easier to strum and stroke the yarns through the reed than to get them to behave going through the lease sticks.
Here are two of the four scarves that came off of that warp. the colours are washed out a bit. So what else is new?

The blue warp that was the first picture is destined for the same treatment. It is narrower than the 12 inch wide scarves that came out of the last batch because apparently men like narrower scarves. And women buy men scarves. Market research is a wonderful thing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Even though it is snowing ( here is the weather forecast)

Snowfall warning in effect.

Cloudy. Periods of snow beginning early this morning. Amount 5 cm. Wind becoming north 30 km/h gusting to 50 this morning. High plus 2.
Periods of snow. Amount 10 cm except 5 cm over western sections. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. Low minus 1.
Periods of snow ending in the morning then cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries or rain showers. Wind northwest 30 km/h. High plus 2.

But the egg hunt is on in the house. Or as I prefer to call it, Home War 3. Nothing like chocolate to bring out the greediness in a bunch of children.
As for me, I made a big egg. It was a paper vessel for a show that opened Thursday. Did I get a picture of the final object? Well, in a way. I had a photographer from work take some pictures for me because I needed some good pictures for a submission to another show. And seeing as the deadline was that day, I didn't copy any of the pictures off of the CD that he gave me. As soon as I find my jump drive I can get them from him. Or wait for my CD's to be returned at the end of the month. Or I can go to the Crafts Council Gallery and take a pathetic picture on my own. We all know how great a photographer I am.
This picture makes it look HUGE. It is about 18 inches high and maybe 12 inches across.
Unfortunately, this Easter is not happy for all. My friend Joe had his apartment building burn last week. I know that everyone got out alright and that Joe is fine. I haven't been able to pin him down so I don't know if he found a new place yet. I do know that he was staying in a hotel and that he was wise enough to have tenant insurance. Joe is a collector of artwork and the thought if all of his paintings, prints, photos, drawings and other artwork being damaged is heart-wrenching. Add to that the thousands of books that he had collected, (Joe is a poet and owns a small independent publishing company) and his losses cannot be recovered. His apartment was not burned, but the water damage is extensive.

This is the second friend that has lost their home and/or possessions due to fire in the past year. Add to that my parent's barn and the massive damage caused by the flood last year too many New Brunsickers, and this add up to be a pretty bad year and a very depressing post.

On the bright side, I found a twill sampler in an old copy of "Handwoven" that a friend gave me that is 62 different treadlings for a four harness that uses the standard 1234 threading. I haven't done it yet but I put it on my "to-do" list. If anyone would like a copy, you can let me know, I'll get your address via e-mail, and send you one.

May all your chocolate be yummy! Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Aw shucks.

Thanks to Leigh who granted me this award.

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!”

I am touched to have been given such an award by someone who I find very inspiring. I have recommended Leigh's blog to several of the weaving students as a great resource. Her posts are always well written and easy to follow.

I am going to pass this this award on to D and T, Dave, Teyani , Valerie, Kansas, F.Pea, and Dani. Thanks for all you help and friendliness. You all make the blogging community a nicer place.

Monday, April 06, 2009

In Like a Cow

The gals are in their new home, and as mom said, they didn't even wipe their feet! They are really dirty from bedding down in hay and now that they are able to bed down in sand, (and soon go outside) they will be cleaner and happier. There are a few things that are not quite finished but they will be able to get done around milking time and once the cows begin to spend more time outside.
Thanks to all for the donations and support. Mom said that she is trying to write thank you letters, but has been finding it hard to find the time. As they say, a farmers work is never done. Or maybe that was a woman's work is never done? In any case, a woman farmer gets no rest what so ever!

Mamoo, you rock!